On November 18, 2021, surveillance technology was discovered in a friend’s car, probably belonging to a government agency. It is a larger device with a GPS tracker from the company “u-blox” and a smaller audio recording device. The devices were hidden behind a panel of the front ceiling light. They were connected by a power cable and drew their power from the supply line to the rear ceiling light. A Y-adapter specially adapted to the car model was apparently used for this purpose. The audio unit tapped into the hands-free system’s existing microphone, which was located behind a cover above the rearview mirror. It is not known if the hands-free unit still worked under these circumstances.
Both units were wrapped in foam and gaffa tape, presumably to prevent them from making noise when the car moves. The larger unit has, among other things, a GPS receiver “u-blox MAX-M8”, a card slot with a 16 GB microSD card, a cellular chip “u-blox LISA-U230” along with a Telekom SIM card, as well as a removable three-pin antenna module. The inventory number “2044 ID93 142” is found on the side. Evaluation of the SD card suggests that the device has been in use since at least early September, possibly three months earlier. It can be assumed that the device overwrites cached location data with zeros after it is sent.
The smaller unit contains a voltage converter, a 3.7 V, 550 mAh lithium-ion battery, and a small circuit board. The individual parts are connected with heat shrink tubing. The small circuit board contains, among other things, a 32 GB microSD card and the “NN01-104” antenna from Ignion (formerly “Fractus”), which is designed for the 2.4 GHz frequency band and can thus transmit and receive Bluetooth or WLAN signals, for example. Mobile technology is not present, but it is conceivable that audio recordings were transmitted to the larger device via WLAN or Bluetooth and sent from there, or possibly retrieved from a close distance via WLAN or Bluetooth. Continue reading “Leipzig, Germany: Tracking device and bug discovered in car”